- The man.
- Little is known of Daniel.
- He was of royal descent, according to Josephus.
- His birth place was probably Jerusalem.
- Nothing is recorded of his early years.
- At about the age of 12 to 15 (in chapter 1:4 he and his friends are called “children”) he is found among the first captives Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon.
- He is mentioned in connection with three other youths.
- He and his companions are selected to be trained in the language, history and customs of the Chaldeans.
- The fortunes and misfortunes of Daniel are recorded in his book of prophecy.
- How long he lived and when and where he died cannot be determined with certainty.
- Epiphanius says he died in Babylon.
- Some say he died in Shushan in Persia.
- Little is known of Daniel.
- Egypt was the first world empire.
- Assyria succeeded Egypt as dominant in the world and was the first kingdom to attempt a one world government.
- Assyria gave way to Babylon.
- When the king of Assyria was weakened through rebellion and sickness, Nabopolassar revolted and declared himself the king of Babylon.
- He then attempted to make himself emperor of the world.
- The war between Assyria and Babylon caused Pharaoh Necho of Egypt to intercede in an attempt to participate in the plunder.
- Josiah, king of Judah, tried to form an alliance with Babylon and was killed in a battle with Egypt at Megiddo.
- Shallum (Jehoahaz) ruled for three months, but was carried by Necho to Egypt.
- Eliakim (Jehoiakim) became king and ruled for 11 years. He was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the son of Nabopolassar, who carried some of the ruling class of Judah and some of the wealth of the Jerusalem temple to Babylon. Daniel was among this number.
- The Babylonian empire was defeated by the Medes and Persians.
- Philip of Macedon had for a long time desired revenge on Assyria for having invaded Greece.
- Philip died without having achieved his ambition of crossing the Mediterranean Sea and punishing Assyria.
- Alexander, the son of Philip, set out to fulfill his father’s desire and developed the Greek empire. He ruled the world for a short time.
- Alexander built roads throughout his empire and required all the people to speak the Greek language.
- Greece gave way to Rome.
- Upon the death of Alexander, his world empire was divided between his four generals.
- Slowly the Roman empire began to develop. Julius laid the military foundation upon which the kingdom was built.
- His adopted son, Octavian (later Augustus), opened the imperial period of Rome (30 B.C.).
- The man.
- The Book.
- The book was written in two languages. Chapters 2:4 to 7:28 are written in Aramaic, and the balance of the book in Hebrew.
- The predictive nature of the book declares its inspiration.
- Modern discoveries support the facts in the book of Daniel.
- Historical portion of the book of Daniel (1:1 to 6:28).
- Prologue of the book (1:1 to 1:21).
- The Babylonian captivity occurred in three stages. This was the first carrying away into Babylon in the reign of Jehoiakim (1-3).
- Children of the nobility chosen to go to Babylon. They were made eunuchs (2 Kings 20:17-18) and trained in the language and culture of the Babylonians (4-7).
- The diet test and its outcome (8-21).
- The famous dream of Nebuchadnezzar (2:1-49).
- The wise men of Babylon unable to describe and interpret the kings’ dream (1-14).
- Daniel offers to recite the dream and give its meaning (15-16).
- Jehovah reveals the matter to Daniel and his companions (17-24).
- Daniel describes the strange image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream and tells the meaning, prophesying four world empires and Messiah’s kingdom (25-45).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction (46-49).
- The fiery furnace (3:1-30).
- Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image and required all people to worship the image when they heard the sound of music (1-8).
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (three Jews) were accused of not worshipping the image (8-12).
- The king inquires if they will worship his golden image and they refuse (13-18).
- The three Jewish men are cast into the fiery furnace (19-23).
- The victims are delivered by the power of God (24-27).
- Nebuchadnezzar praises Jehovah and promotes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (28-30).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a tree and Daniel’s interpretation(4:1-37).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s pronouncement (1-3).
- The Babylonian king reports having had a dream, his wise men had not been able to make its meaning known to him (4-7).
- Nebuchadnezzar recounts his dream to Daniel (8-18).
- Daniel is stricken speechless (19).
- Daniel gives the meaning of the dream (20-27).
- One year later the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled (28-33).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s recovery (34-36).
- Nebuchadnezzar fully converted to the worship of the one God (37).
- Writing on a wall (5:1-30).
- Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, gave a feast for 1,000 of his lords (1).
- Vessels from the Jerusalem temple defiled and Jehovah insulted (2-4).
- Writing on the wall (5-6).
- The king’s wise men could not read the writing (7-9).
- The queen-mother’s recommendation (10-12).
- Daniel, 78, called to read the writing (13-29).
- End of the mighty Babylonian empire (30-31).
- The den of lions (6:1-28).
- Darius of Persia sets up his government (1-2).
- Daniel promoted (3).
- Occasion sought against Daniel (4).
- The law against praying to any god except Darius (5-9).
- Daniel defied the king and disobeyed the law (10).
- Daniel accused and thrown to the lions (11-17).
- The king’s lament (18-22).
- Daniel delivered (23).
- Daniel’s accusers punished (24).
- Darius’ proclamation concerning “the God of Daniel” (25-28).
- Prologue of the book (1:1 to 1:21).
- Visions and Dreams (7:1 to 12:13).
- Four beasts (7:1-28).
- Belshazzar is co-regent with his father, Nabonidus (1a).
- Dreams and visions (1b).
- Four beasts coming out of the sea (2-3).
- Lion with eagle’s wings (4).
- Bear with 3 ribs in his mouth (5).
- Leopard with wings and 4 heads (6).
- Terrible beast with iron teeth and 10 horns (7).
- The little horn with a big mouth (8).
- A scene in heaven — the Ancient of Days — a coronation in heaven (9-14).
- An explanation to the grieving Daniel (15-27).
- Daniel, though troubled, hid the matter in his heart (28).
- Vision of a ram, a he-goat, and a horn (8:1-27).
- A ram with two horns representing the Medo-Persian Empire (1-4).
- The he-goat with a horn between his eyes (5-6).
- The he-goat overcomes the ram; the he-goat’s horn is broken and 4 notable horns appear (7-8).
- A little horn comes from one of the 4 horns and desecrates the temple in Jerusalem (9-14).
- Gabriel’s explanation of the vision (15-26).
- Daniel fainted and was sick (27).
- Daniel’s prayer for himself and the people (9:1-27).
- The prayer (1-19).
- The sending of Gabriel to Daniel (20-23).
- Gabriel’s explanation of conditions — the 70 weeks of years (24-27).
- Vision of a man (10-1-21).
- Daniel is afraid because of the vision (1-9).
- Daniel is comforted by an angel (10-17).
- Persia and Greece in conflict (18-21).
- The rise and fall of the Grecian empire (11-1-45).
- Alexander of Macedon (1-4).
- An alliance, through marriage, between the king of Egypt and the king of Syria (5-6).
- Wars between Egypt and Syria (7-10).
- Continued struggles and intrigues between Syria and Egypt (11-19).
- Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ brutality foretold (20-24).
- Antiochus IV Epiphanes invades Egypt, but is driven back and again distresses the Jews in Jerusalem (25-39).
- Summary of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (40-45).
- The time of the end (12:1-13).
- The archangel shall stand up (12:1-4).
- The great deliverance (12:5-10).
- Waiting for the end (12:11-13).
- Four beasts (7:1-28).
Vol. 106, No. 6, 7, and 8
The rapture is a widely accepted denominational doctrine. Popular TV and radio evangelists teach this idea. Several best-selling religious books deal with this subject. Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth, became a Hollywood movie. This book, first printed in 1970, was so popular that by 1976 it had gone through forty-two printings!
The result of this blitz of teaching is alarming. The news media mentioned the War in the Persian Gulf as maybe connected with Armageddon. Many people are using the term “the rapture” as if it was a commonly known and established future event, but the word “rapture” is not in any credible translation of the Bible.
The denominational idea of a coming rapture confuses folk and makes it difficult for them to understand and accept the truth. It is necessary to combat this false teaching before we can begin successfully to teach basic Bible truth. Some members of the church have accepted the teaching as Biblical. Brethren, we must teach the truth on “end times” and answer this false doctrine.
This incorrect view of “the rapture” says that Christ will soon appear and take the saved away from the earth for a seven-year rapture, leaving the unsaved on the earth to suffer. Most of us have read articles or heard hair-raising stories on what these people say will occur when Christ raptures the saved.
The anecdotes tell of men waking up and finding their wives and children mysteriously gone. Others, at work, abruptly disappear from their machines and desks. Drivers and pilots suddenly vanish, causing crippling crashes.
Those not raptured panic, not knowing what has happened. The phone lines are jammed as people call the police, the newspaper office, the radio station. Disorder is rampant. Finally, some slowly realize the “rapture” has taken place, and they, not ready, were left behind. Meanwhile, the saved have inexpressible bliss.
TOO NEW TO BE BIBLICAL
Few people seem to know this unbiblical teaching is somewhat new. Although the false doctrine of premillennialism has been around for a while, dispensational premillennialism (from which comes the rapture idea) is dated from about 1830, beginning with John N. Darby and the start of the Plymouth Brethren movement.
One writer claims the two-stage idea of Christ’s coming commenced with Miss Margaret MacDonald in Port Glasgow, Scotland a few years earlier. No one can trace it back before the 1800’s. This shows the doctrine to be unscriptural. It started 1700 years too late to be from God!
THE DISPENSATIONAL PREMILLENNIAL THEORY EXPLAINED
Dispensationalists, generally, teach that all human history falls into seven divisions. They disagree on the designations and the exact periods covered in the first five dispensations, but all agree we are now living in the sixth period, called, by them, the Dispensation of Grace. They expect the seventh dispensation to last one thousand years and call it, The Millennium.
Most say the Dispensation of Grace will soon end with the reputed rapture. The living righteous will be caught up to meet Christ in the air to be judged and rewarded. The rapture lasts seven years (the “final week” of Daniel’s prophesy – Daniel 9:27)
On earth, during this seven-year period, is The Great Tribulation. During the first part of this period, the Jews in Palestine make a covenant with Antichrist. They rebuild the temple, renew its sacrifices, and convert many to Judaism.
In the middle of this seven-year period the Antichrist breaks covenant with the Jews and demands to be worshiped. Multitudes are slaughtered in a great persecution.
After seven years, Christ comes back to earth with the raptured saints. Dispensational premillennialists call this The Revelation. The battle of Armageddon is fought and the Antichrist is destroyed in the war.
The righteous dead are, at last, remembered and resurrected. All the nations are judged. The millennium begins. Christ rules the world from earthly Jerusalem, sitting on David’s literal throne. After the thousand years, Satan is loosed for a little while. After Satan’s last fling, the wicked dead are resurrected and judged in “The Great White Throne Judgment.”
A PROOF TEXT
Teachers of dispensational premillennialism claim First Thessalonians teaches their speculation about a rapture and tribulation and millennial reign of Jesus on earth. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
The verse does mention the living saved, along with the resurrected saved, caught up to meet the Lord in the air, however the passage speaks of what occurs after all the dead are raised and judged and says nothing of a secret rapture. The passage also indicates the redeemed in Hades are resurrected and the saved on earth are transformed simultaneously.
The book of First Thessalonians does not teach a clandestine return and rapture but says, “he (Jesus) shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess. 4:16). This is one of the noisiest verses in the Bible! The verse says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
Verse 17 says the saved of earth shall, with the sainted dead, be caught up “in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The word “so,” most people know, is an adverb of manner, and means “in this manner,” that is, “in the air,” shall we ever be with the Lord.
The rapture notion teaches, instead, that only the living righteous will be caught up in the air to be with Christ for seven years. Then they are to return to earth with him in The Revelation.
The advocates of a covert coming of Christ and the rapture say the Bible pictures the final coming Jesus as like a thief. So, they think, he will sneak in and snatch the saved from the earth secretly, like a thief doing his work.
The Bible does not teach the act of Christ’s coming to be as a thief, but says “the day” comes like a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2). This does not teach that Christ will be sneaking in and out but shows we cannot know when Christ is coming.
CONTRARY TO BIBLICAL TEACHING
Many things in this fanciful doctrine contradict Bible truth! The word “rapture” is not Biblical. Hal Lindsey says it is not in the Bible and tells us not to look for It (The Late Great Planet Earth, page 126). Consider some discrepancies of this doctrine with God’s revealed truth.
The idea that the saved are to be taken from the world, while the lost remain, violates Bible teaching. The parable of the tares (Matt. 13:24-30; Matt. 13:38-43) disproves this notion. The wheat and the tares grow together “until the harvest” (13:30). Jesus tells us “the good seed are the children of the kingdom” and “the tares are the children of the wicked one” (13:38). “The harvest is the end of the world” (13:39). The sacred scriptures say the good and the bad will “grow together” until the “end of the world.” In the final harvest the householder will command, “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in the bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (verse 30). Jesus’ interpretation of the parable says, “The Son of man shall send forth his angles, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun” (verses 41-43). The impress of the passage is a simultaneous judgment of the saved and the lost. The parable says the lost are to be cast into the fires of hell at the same time the saved go to their heavenly mansions.
Dispensational millenarians teach separate resurrections of the good and evil. According to them, the transformed righteous of earth are swept away to a seven-year ecstasy. After the seven years, the sainted dead are resurrected to take part in a victorious 1,000 year earthly kingdom. After this, the wicked are resurrected. This makes different resurrections separated by at least 1,000 years.
Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
Some try to dodge the force of this by saying that “all” simply refers to the saved. Jesus takes care of this quibble- “they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” The ransomed and the dammed are raised the same hour.
The rapture theory demands a secret coming of Christ. In discussing the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples not to believe it if some said, “Lo, here is Christ, or there” (Matt. 24:23-26). Jesus explained, “For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27).
Just as all see the flash of lightening, so Christ’s ultimate coming will be open and public. It will not be an event so secret that most of mankind will not even realize Christ has returned until many hours afterward. Acts 1:11 tells us, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” When he comes again, “every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7).
The rapture speculation of millennial dispensationalists demands two future, literal returns of Christ. They call one return “the rapture” and the other return “the revelation.” Jesus promised, “I will come again” (John 14:3). He did not say, “I will come again and again.” Hebrews 9:28 tells us that “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” A third literal coming of Jesus is not promised in the holy scripture.
Dispensationalists downplay what the Bible says about a second literal coming by calling it the first and second “phase” of his second coming. This does not remove the fact they teach he is coming two more times, with seven years between his second and third coming. The Bible teaches one, still future, literal coming of Christ!
A seven-year period of great tribulation on earth triggered by the second, literal coming of Jesus is not in the Bible. Matthew 24:21 mentions “great tribulation” at the destruction of Jerusalem – not after this age and the destruction of the earth.
The great tribulation of Matthew 24 cannot refer to Jesus’ last coming. The passage tells his followers not to return to their houses for possessions and speaks of the difficulty of being pregnant or nursing a baby and of the inconvenience of fleeing during the winter or on the Sabbath, all of which is meaningless, unless he is speaking of Jerusalem’s destruction, and not of his second, final coming. If Jesus is coming again to steal, like a thief, the good folk from the earth, it is pointless to tell them not to pack their clothes nor urge them to pray nor to have babies, nor that it is winter, nor the Sabbath day when he comes to zing them into rhapsody.
Revelation 7:14 speaks of victorious saints who suffered “great tribulation” on earth, who are rewarded by the Lord in heaven. There is no passage in all the Bible that speaks of a great tribulation after the Christian age. The Bible speaks instead of great comfort for the redeemed at the end of this period.
The antichrist concept of millennialism is foreign to the scriptures. Antichrist simply means a person who is against Christ. The term is never used in the Bible to designate a leader of the forces of evil at the end of time.
1 John 2:18 helps answer this false emphasis. John said, “even now are many antichrists.” The antichrists of John’s day disprove the claim that one antichrist will appear after this age.
A list of those identified as the antichrist is amusing – Napoleon, Wilhelm, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Henry Kissinger, and Ronald Reagan. Soon someone will add Suddam Hussein to the roll. The prophets for dispensationalism are obviously wide of the mark, but that does not seem to bother their followers. They commonly ignore Deuteronomy 18:22! The prophets of the rapture, who teach lies, are the tail (Isa. 9:15)
The battle of Armageddon, according to dispensational millenialists, is a war between the forces of the antichrist and those of Jesus at his literal, second coming. Revelation 16:14 mentions a “battle” and Revelation 16:16 mentions a place called “Armageddon.” Neither the antichrist nor Christ’s last coming is mentioned in this passage.
Pre-millennialists say prophetic statements should be accepted in an unqualified sense. The battle of Armageddon is therefore a verbatim, carnal warfare. Some claim the carnage will be so great blood will really flow to the depth of the horse’s bits – horses will be swimming in human blood.
Will they accept as literal “three unclean spirits like frogs” coming “out of the mouth of the dragon” to gather the kings to battle? The war of Revelation 16 is no more literal than is the instigator a literal frog who comes out of the mouth of a literal dragon.
Advocates of the rapture say the earthly phase of the kingdom of heaven is to begin when Christ comes a second time unto salvation. The bible says the earthly phase of the kingdom of God now exists and will end when Jesus appears a final time.
The kingdom of heaven, which John the Baptist said was at hand, began on the Pentecost of Acts 2, during the Roman empire as foretold in Daniel 2:44. First century saints were in it (Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 12:28). At Jesus’ last coming he will deliver an already established kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-25).
Dispensationalists list as many as seven separate days of judgment. All such false teachers list at least three days of judgment – one at the claimed rapture of the saints, another for the nations after the assumed seven-year tribulation, and a third at the end of the so-called millennium.
The Bible teaches one day of judgment. Near the end of the gospel of Matthew we read of the day of judgment at least four times (Matt. 10:15; Matt. 11:22-24; Matt. 12:36), and “judgment” (singular) at least two more times (Matt. 12:41-42). “He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world” (Acts 17:31). The idea of various days of judgment for various groups of people is alien to the Bible.
“As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:27-28).
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